When you arrived in the city, you’d call your friends to arrange a meeting:
«Are we meeting in the usual place?»
«Near the Drama [Theater]?»
«Of course, near the Drama [Theater]!»
All roads converged here. There was always a lot of movement and energy at this place.
Every year, coming to my native Mariupol, I felt incredible pride and admiration, watching how fast the city was developing.
Mariupol is the sea, ports, giant factories, and it is also a Ukrainian outpost. It is the pillar and protection that it has been all these years.
But most of all, Mariupol is PEOPLE. These are beautiful, hardworking, brave people. I swear, I recognize them by the Mariupol / Donetsk style of conversation, which is not like anyone else’s.
These people are a little gloomy, without ostentatious friendliness, but with such a huge and kind soul… These are called TRUE PEOPLE!
My mother is still in Mariupol, and I don’t know how she is surviving, whether she has food, water, if her house is intact, and how she feels. I really hope that she is coping and this horror will end soon.
The city is simply being wiped off the face of the earth… 80% of the city is destroyed, they bombed Azovstal, a maternity ward, hospitals, schools, there are almost no houses that haven’t been damaged.
Bodies lie in the streets, friends are buried in courtyards and gardens, and strangers — in mass graves. Some people will never know the fate of their loved ones…
When a heavy bomb was dropped on the Drama Theater yesterday, something inside me turned upside down. This was my point of no return. They hit a nerve. They didn’t just hit it, but tore it apart. There are just two walls of the Drama left standing.
But by some incredible miracle, the bomb shelter survived. It’s hard to imagine what the people inside went through.
I know this will be over. The price of freedom is very high. But this is a stage on our way to a mature Ukraine. This is a springboard. It’s as if we’ve spent our whole history preparing for this moment to break the levers of influence on our independence, to have the right to choose and to vote. This is how we differ from everyone else — an incredible will for freedom and our own identity.